Geometries of edge and mixed dislocations in bcc Fe from first-principles calculations

Michael R. Fellinger, Anne Marie Z. Tan, Louis G. Hector, Dallas R. Trinkle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We use density functional theory (DFT) to compute the core structures of a0[100](010) edge, a0[100](011) edge, a0/2[111](110) edge, and a0/2[111](110)71-mixed dislocations in body-centered cubic (bcc) Fe. The calculations are performed using flexible boundary conditions (FBC), which effectively allow the dislocations to relax as isolated defects by coupling the DFT core to an infinite harmonic lattice through the lattice Green function (LGF). We use the LGFs of the dislocated geometries in contrast to most previous FBC-based dislocation calculations that use the LGF of the bulk crystal. The dislocation LGFs account for changes in the topology of the crystal in the core as well as local strain throughout the crystal lattice. A simple bulklike approximation for the force constants in a dislocated geometry leads to dislocation LGFs that optimize the core structures of the a0[100](010) edge, a0[100](011) edge, and a0/2[111](110)71-mixed dislocations. This approximation fails for the a0/2[111](110) dislocation, however, so in this case we derive the LGF from more accurate force constants computed using a Gaussian approximation potential. The standard deviations of the dislocation Nye tensor distributions quantify the widths of the dislocation cores. The relaxed cores are compact, and the local magnetic moments on the Fe atoms closely follow the volumetric strain distributions in the cores. We also compute the core structures of these dislocations using eight different classical interatomic potentials, and quantify symmetry differences between the cores using the Fourier coefficients of their Nye tensor distributions. Most of the core structures computed using the classical potentials agree well with the DFT results. The DFT core geometries provide benchmarking for classical potential studies of work-hardening, as well as substitutional and interstitial sites for computing solute-dislocation interactions that serve as inputs for mesoscale models of solute strengthening and solute diffusion near dislocations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number113605
JournalPhysical Review Materials
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 26 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Physics and Astronomy (miscellaneous)


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